Case Of Student Who Brought Gun To School For Safety Sparks Debate

The fact that there are far more incidents involving guns being brought to school for safety fears than there are for those that involved active shooters is sparking a school safety debate.

By Erika Hanson | Published

What To Know About Veteran Overwatch, Protecting Children At School

Guns are a serious point of contention in America. So it is only natural that when it comes to school safety, the topic of gun violence becomes more ambiguous. Reports of guns on school campuses are alarmingly increasing, but oftentimes, this information can be misleading. One of those incidents is sparking a major debate on the topic, and it stems back to the case of a young, troubled student who brought a gun to school one day last year not with the intent to kill his classmates, but instead out of feelings that he needed it to keep safe.

Keyon Robinson was a well-liked senior by the staff of his Chicago suburb high school last year. But after an altercation at home one morning just months before graduation, Robinson made what he now calls an idiotic choice to bring a gun to school with him in his backpack for safety. Never intending to use it, he now faces the consequences of his decision. But being that his case is one of many, more education leaders are calling for a change of plan for how school safety is discussed, as events similar to Robinsons happen far more often in schools than those that lead to deadly school shootings

Robinson was arrested on school property after police received a tip he may have been in possession of a firearm. Although he never took the weapon out of his backpack, nor appeared to have any intent to use it, his illegal decision had serious consequences. He spent time in jail, and was expelled from Oak Park High school. After being granted leave from prison so long as he stayed in his family’s apartment wearing an ankle monitor, he eventually was told he could finish his high school degree at home. But out of school safety precautions, he was never allowed to graduate with his classmates. 

There are countless other stories like Robinson’s piling up the data for gun reports in school. While tragic school shootings like Uvalde, Parkland, Sandy Hook, and more should never be downplayed because of this, it sheds light on possibly a more serious topic that needs to be discussed. In regards to school safety, mass shootings are less likely to occur, so quite possibly, the hardening of schools’ approach does little to alleviate the real issue surrounding guns in schools.

According to reports from The Associated Press, active shooter incidents only accounted for 11 out of 430 shootings in and around campuses for all reported incidents last school year. The majority of the time, incidents stemmed from individual fights that broke out. Looking at this type of data, many school leaders now view school safety actions with a different approach.

Restorative justice models are being implemented into many schools’ disciplinary protocols shifting away from zero-tolerance policies. The fear is that statistically, these age-old practices have disproportionately affected Black students, which do little to deter the number of students like Robinson from bringing in guns to school. The hope is that new approaches will be better served to discipline on a case-by-case basis and keep more focus on building relationships with students in the hope to keep them from feeling the need to bring firearms with them onto campus. 

school safety

Robinson now awaits a court verdict to see how much time he will spend behind bars if any. Time and time again, he has expressed his anger with himself for making such a bad decision. But his case is just one of many. Not everyone agrees that the restorative justice approach is the answer to better school safety, but looking at the situation from a different viewpoint may help make a difference in the long run.